10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

Ask Bob: Can I Get Widow's Benefits If I'm Already Receiving Social Security Disability?

Retirement Daily expert, Jim Blankenship, explains widow's benefits for someone receiving Social Security disability.
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Question

I'm 62 and on disability, my husband collected Social Security. He was 69 and passed away recently. We have a small business that I will probably sell since I can't run it myself. I receive $1500 a month from disability. Am I entitled to anything else? He did not have life insurance.

Answer

Since your late husband was receiving Social Security, you should have a survivor benefit available to you (also known as a widow's benefit, in Social Security parlance), says Jim Blankenship, author of "A Social Security Owner’s Manual." This benefit would be equal to the amount that he was receiving as of his death. “Filing for the survivor benefit will cause your disability benefit to cease,” notes Blankenship. “You'd only receive the survivor benefit thereafter.”

However, since you are under Full Retirement Age (which would be approximately 66 years and six months for someone of your age), there would be a reduction to the survivor benefit. “The reduction at your current age of 62 would be something like 24%,” explains Blankenship. If you delayed filing for the survivor benefit until your Full Retirement Age (FRA), you'd then receive the survivor benefit in full, at the same amount that your late husband was receiving, plus COLAs awarded in between. (Note: FRA and reduction amount are approximated since we don't know the exact date of birth of the reader.)

Blankenship suggests, “It could make sense for you to start receiving the survivor benefit right away if that results in an increase to your monthly benefit, especially if you are in dire need of the funds at the present. It could otherwise be a better option for you to delay receiving the survivor benefit until later when the reduction is lessened or eliminated.” He adds, “If your disability benefit is currently more than the survivor benefit, you'd just stick with the disability benefit, it's not fruitful to switch.”

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Question

I'm 62 and on disability, my husband collected Social Security. He was 69 and passed away recently. We have a small business that I will probably sell since I can't run it myself. I receive $1500 a month from disability. Am I entitled to anything else? He did not have life insurance.

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